LAWS1000 Legal Research and Writing
Legal Research and Writing is an introductory core skills course for Law. Students will learn how to solve legal problems and approach law assignments; how to find, interpret and use primary and secondary sources; how to distinguish credible from non-credible sources; how to communicate clearly and persuasively in academic and professional contexts; and how to reference appropriately.
About this guide
This guide was created by a librarian and contains some key resources you can refer to throughout the legal research & writing course.
When starting legal research, it can be useful to begin with secondary resources. This includes encyclopedias and dictionaries, books, journal articles and commentaries. These will point you to relevant primary resources including case law and legislation.
Notre Dame Australia Schools of Law have generally adopted the IRAC (Issue, Rule, Application and Conclusion) approach for legal analysis & hypothetical legal problems.
A suggested research methodology is to find secondary sources/analysis (1-4) which will help you to to identify relevant primary legal materials (5 & 6).
Analyse and define your topic.
Broader issues to consider
What is the relevant jurisdiction?
General research practice:
Other key considerations
Become familiar with information hierarchies
The consequences of not being a good legal researcher include the potential risks including
The Australian Guide to Legal Citation (AGLC) is a footnote citation style specifically designed to identify legal sources. It does not deal with legal writing style. AGLC is medium neutral, which means it allows for a resource to be cited in a consistent manner, regardless of whether it has been published in print or online, in reported or unreported format.
The Library's AGLC guide provides a summary of the full AGLC rules and deals with the most highly used sources by law students. This is a good place to start, remembering you call refer to the full AGLC 4th Edition manual when it is unclear how to correctly cite a particular source.